Unschooling has had some unexpected side effects. A lot of the literature we’re reading at the moment, online and off, encourages parents to pursue their own passions and interests almost as actively as they encourage their unschooled children to do. Essentially, we should be modeling our philosophy even as we develop it. If we demonstrate the process and results of finding what we love to do, learning to do it, and doing it to the best of our ability, the natural joy and growth that results are a boon to the entire family.
I love to dance. I’d assumed that I would train formally after leaving school (isn’t that how you get good at things, after all?). I did, in fact, enroll at theatre college after school, pursuing my lifelong ambition to act professionally. Unfortunately, I hated every moment of it. Disillusioned and bleak, I flip-flopped from one job to the next for a few years with no direct goal in mind, until I discovered an aptitude for and love of graphic design. Now, I certainly am not as incredibly talented as some, but I do love it, and I do get paid to do it every day of my life. So that’s a good thing.
Since my drama school experience, I’ve expended a fair amount of energy trying to work out how I should be, both at home and with others. What should I say? What can I do? What should I not do? What’s appropriate in terms of my strict faith? I’ve believed in the value of exercise but, for the most part, begrudged the practise of it at best, loathed it at worst. (Wow, that’s a long sentence!)
As I internalise, more and more, the notion that things that are learnt by doing are learnt in at least as valid a manner (if not more so) as things learned by instruction, I’ve begun to recognise many more opportunities to personal growth, without attending classes, buying special equipment or uniforms, or anything else at all besides passion.
When we got home from the market today, a friend asked if we could listen to one of our BeeGee CDs. We haven’t listened to it in ages as I wrestled with the “is-this-music-acceptable-in-my-house?” internal debate. The music was great. It filled the air with energy and exuberance, and I couldn’t help bopping along to it. Later, when Papa Bear and our guest nipped out to the shops, I put on some of my favourite dance music, cranked up the volume, and danced and sang my heart out! Goldilocks and Red Rising Hood had friends over, and I’m fairly sure all four of them thought I’d lost my mind. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care if the neighbours saw or heard, either. I was having FUN. I must have danced intensively for over half an hour, and I feel better than ever – so connected to myself and my passion, and ready for whatever the rest of the day has in store.
To my delight, the whole family seems to be feeling it, too. Everyone is happier and more relaxed than ever, laughing and questioning things and following their interests with wreckless abandon.
It makes me think of the charming and intriguing Zapp family and their epic journey. Doesn’t it sound like fun? What about you? What sparks your passion